Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The strangest Christmas traditions all over the world

Christmas is mostly about celebrations, gift-giving, merry-making and church-attending. There are so many different elements that contribute to the celebration that we have come to know as Christmas.

Here are some of the strange things people around the world do for Christmas in the name of celebration.

Iceland: The Yule Cat (Jolakotturinn)

The Icelandics are big fans of myths and of hard work. (They have the most overtime in Europe.) One famous Christmas character is the scary Yule Cat who eats children who haven't worked hard enough. Basically, if you have finished all your work before Christmas you get new clothes and you are safe. The scary Icelandic Yule cat only looks for the lazy ones in old clothes. A good reason to go clothes shopping.


The tradition of mummers is associated with the winter solstice more than Christmas. It dates back to pagan times when people would try to employ magic to encourage the sun to return before daylight completely disappeared. In Britain, mummers perform small dramas about the struggle between the sun and the forces of winter -a tradition that survives to this day in some areas. In Latvia, Christmastime is still a solstice holiday, and is often celebrated from December 22nd through the 25th. Customs of a Latvian Christmas are usually traced to activities that encourage the return of the Sun Maiden. Latvian mummers are more like Halloween trick-or-treaters, going from house to house wearing masks, usually disguised as some kind of animal or the spirit of death. They play music and bestow blessings on the homes they visited, and are given food to eat.

Sweden: Find the almond in the rice pudding 
In Sweden, you eat rice pudding at Christmas (before or after the Smorgasbord) and the big question is: Who will get the almond? There is one peeled almond hiding somewhere in the rice pudding and the lucky one who gets it will get married within a year.


The J√≥lasveinar, or Yule Lads, are Icelandic trolls. In ancient times, they stole things and caused trouble around Christmastime, so they were used to scare children into behaving, like the Yule cat. However, in the 20th century, culture creep brought tales of the benevolent Norwegian figure called Julenisse (Santa Claus), who brought gifts to good children. He was the carrot while the Yule Lads were the stick. The traditions became mingled, until the formerly devilish J√≥lasveinar became kind enough to leave gifts in shoes that children leave out ...if they are good boys and girls. This gift-giving used to last for 13 days straight! That's because there are 13 Yule Lads, and they each have a name and distinct personality.

Czech Republic, Slovakia: Toss Your Shoes And Get Hitched
If you don’t want to celebrate another Christmas single, then try this: stand with your back to the door and throw a shoe over your shoulders on Christmas day! If the shoe lands with the toe pointing to the door, congratulations, you’re going to get married soon! There’s no clue as to how long before you meet your prince charming though.

Japan: KFC for Christmas dinner In many Japanese homes a KFC bucket with fried chicken is the main dish at Christmas. Thanks to a lack of turkeys and smart marketing by KFC the fried chicken is so popular you have to order weeks in advance for the holidays

Ukraine: Christmas trees dressed in spider webs
Spider webs in the house are typically considered at best, a nuisance, and at worst, a nightmare for the arachnophobic among us, but in Ukraine, Christmas trees are often decorated with (fake) spider webs to usher in good luck during the coming year. 

The legend goes that a poverty stricken family went to bed on Christmas eve despondent because they wouldn't be able to decorate their tree. The spiders, roaming the home's walls and floors, heard the cries of the family, and took it upon themselves to decorate the tree with their webs. On Christmas day, the strands turned to gold and silver, changing the family's fortune forever.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ramadan in Egypt

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and the most important month in the Islamic Calendar for Muslims, the majority religion in Egypt. Commemorating the time when God revealed the Qur'an to Mohammed, during this holy month, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking or smoking until after sundown on each day. Although strict adherence to Ramadan is for Muslims only, some Muslims appreciate that non-Muslims do not take meals or smoke in public places. During Ramadan, many restaurants and cafes won't open until after sundown. Public transport is less frequent, shops close earlier before sunset and the pace of life (especially business) is generally slow.
As expected, exactly at sunset minute, the entire country quiets down and busy itself with the main meal of the day (iftar or breaking-fast) that are almost always done as social events in large groups of friends. Many richer people offer (Tables of the Gracious God) in Cairo's streets that cater full-meals for free for the passers-by, the poorer ones or workers who couldn't leave their shifts at the time. Prayers become popular 'social' events that some like to enrich with special food treats before and after. An hour or two later, an astonishing springing to life of the cities takes place. Streets sometimes richly decorated for the whole month have continuous rush hours till very early in the morning. Some shops and cafes make the biggest chunk of their annual profit at this time of year. Costs of advertising on television and radio soars for this period and entertainment performances are at their peak.

Nice picture describe Ramadan in Egypt

Monday, September 2, 2013

Tomb of Ancient Egyptian Princess Discovered in Unusual Spot

The tomb of an ancient Egyptian princess has been discovered south of Cairo hidden in bedrock and surrounded by a court of tombs belonging to four high officials.
Dating to 2500 B.C., the structure was built in the second half of the Fifth Dynasty, though archaeologists are puzzled as to why this princess was buried in Abusir South among tombs of non-royal officials. Most members of the Fifth Dynasty's royal family were buried 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) to the north, in the central part of Abusir or farther south in Saqqara.
(Saqqara holds a vast burial ground for the ancient capital Memphis and is home to the famous Step Pyramid of Djoser.)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

How to Stay Fit and Healthy while travelling

How to Stay Fit and Healthy on the Road

Here are seven tips on staying fit while travelling:

1) Make healthy living on the road a priority! Yes, you DO have time to exercise, you just need to make time for it. You can complete a workout in 20 minutes in your hotel room or hostel.

2) Walking for the win. Do everything you can to walk as often as possible. There’s no better way to explore a city than on foot: you get to exercise

3) Playgrounds and parks are everywhere: use them. Check google maps for that green patch of ground and walk over there for your workouts; you can do pull ups on swing sets or tree branches.

4) Remember that your diet is 80% of the battle. Consider upping your food budget, even slightly so you can eat healthier. Bags of rice and/or pasta for every meal: processed carbs and very little else. Get some protein in there! Don’t be afraid to do a healthy ‘family dinner’ with hostel mates where you all split the cost.

5) Do the best you can. If you only have 10 minutes to exercise, exercise for 10 minutes! Every little bit adds up, and 10 minutes is WAYYY better than nothing. If you have to eat poorly at train station, make up for it the next day.

6) Employ the “Never 2″ rule. If you miss a day of exercise for whatever reason, don’t allow yourself to miss two days in a row. If you eat one bad meal, that next meal should be healthy. Never two in a row.

7) Have fun. Don’t be afraid to have late nights with friends or say yes to crazy adventures. Just make sure you get right back on track as soon as possible after so you don’t lose the momentum you’ve built up.

Desert Safaris in Egypt

Egypt Desert Safaris

Deserts cover about 20% of the Earths land surface, and are often thought of as unforgiving environments where it is difficult to survive even a day or two. While you do need special preparations to stay in the desert, its actually quite possible to do it even fun! Deserts provide the perfect atmosphere for some really interesting activities you wont be able to do anywhere else in the world. Hot deserts are, perhaps, more versatile in the kinds of activities that you can do, and the largest hot desert, the Sahara, has many points where you can take part in these activities.

When in Egypt, its a great idea to go on a desert safari. These alternative style trips are an absolute adventure that you must experience. While hot deserts the world over can offer great experiences, in Egypt you can have these experiences and have a blast while doing it! Often traveling into the desert with Bedouin guides, youll have a chance to see their interaction with the environment, and enjoy it the way locals would with song and dance around a campfire at night! While camping out in the desert, youll experience one of the clearest night skies around as you sit in front of the camp fire and drink traditional Bedouin tea. At your Bedouin camp, you might even enjoy a traditional dinner of lamb, slow cooked in the heat under the sand. While in the Egyptian desert, youll probably even be lucky enough to see a fox or two during your stay!

Enjoying a campfire in the Egyptian desert under the stars 

Besides camping, the other desert safari activities you can enjoy in Egypt are sand boarding and dune bashing. Sand boarding is a slightly more forgiving version of snowboarding, where you climb up a sand dune with your board, and slide down either standing (for the adventurous with a good sense of balance) or sitting (for those who are more cautious, and would like to enjoy the same experience, but a little close to the ground); its a fun activity, and one that you can only enjoy in the desert, as there are no man made sand dunes that would suit the activity. You can enjoy this on a simple day trip outside of the desert at the Qataneya Dunes, or while spending a weekend in the Western Desert.

Dune bashing is an activity where youre riding in a 4x4 vehicle that climbs up the dunes, drives along its crest, and sometimes crosses to the other side of the dune. Its quite exciting, and you have to hold tight as youre actually leaning sideways during the ride along the crest of the dune.

While out in the Egypts Western Desert, you can also arrange a trip to see one of the 5 oases, and have your very own mirage experience in the Bahariya Oasis, except youll be seeing actual palm trees around a small spring of water, or even enjoy a dip in some mineral water! The Western Desert even has some areas like the Great Sand Sea that are ideal for sand boarding.

Enjoying a dip in a therapeutic mineral pool in an Egyptian oasis

On your next trip to Egypt, make sure you set aside a weekend for a trip to the desert its something youll never forget!

Focus your sight on Pyramids of Giza

Focus your sight on Pyramids of Giza

On today, different urban assembles on the planet however pyramids of Giza are one of them. In Egypt there are remarkable pyramids yet pyramid of tomb is one of them. Around 93, a pyramid of Giza is the best of one. So for that research the breathtaking zone, you can see 3d encompassing pyramid like Giza, Sphinx.

The remarkable pyramid of Khufu

Khufu’s Pyramid is made by limestone similarly recognized a layout pearl. It holds 1,300,000 pieces going in weight from 2.5-15 tons, moreover needy upon square measuring base which is around the level of 230m (755ft), spread 13 allotments of district! Its four sides face the four cardinal centers unequivocally and it has an edge of 52 degrees. 146.5m (488ft) was the tallness of pyramid, yet this is in the long run 137m (455ft) high, 9m is no methodical is on record is theft with finest quality limestone spread, or packing stone is made by Ottoman Turks to manufacture of mosque & houses in Cairo. 

The pyramid of Khafre:

Pyramid of Khafre, second pyramid is just 136m (446 ft) tall, with sides of 214.5m (704ft), a surface of range of 11 ranges of zone & plots are 53 degree in focus. In additionally it has lost some of tallness as the years progressed, yet is 143.5m (471ft) tall.

The Pyramid of Menkaure:

Khafre’s child, Menkaure, based generally was in 65.5m (215ft) in tall, yet this is 62m (203ft), with sides of just 105m (344ft) and 51.3 degrees at edge smart.

The Great Sphinx:

Sphinx, or also people of old knew it, “Shesib Ankh” or “the living picture” must be a standout around the most unmistakable headways on history. The structure is 60m (200ft) long and 20m (65ft) tall. Its face is 4m (13ft) wide with eyes measuring 2m (6 ft) high.

Around then you visit the site of the Giza Pyramids, you need to know the running with truths:

• It is prohibited to climb the Pyramids. You are as of late permitted to climb the stone steps that accelerate the area, which is 55 feet over the ground level.

• If you wish to take an auto onto the site, you have to get an auto stopping ticket. 2 Le for a minor auto, 5 Le for minibuses, 10 Le for a mentor.

• 0800 and 1200 is the best morning timing period for set to pyramid. 156:00 to 17:00 is the also timing period.

 • As for Menkaure’s Pyramid, it is right away shut for restoration. The Pyramids are opened on a rotational over, as a standard it might keep striving for a year, for the explanation for why that restoration work could be satisfied.

• If you need to get a camel or horse ride, the best place for this is the stables at the foot of the Pyramids level, it is shabby and safe.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Egypt travel advice: is it safe to go?

Should I travel to Egypt?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the Governorate of North Sinai due to the significant increase in criminal activity and recent terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in deaths. See North Sinai

In view of continued unrest and the evolving political situation in Egypt, the FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Egypt except for resorts on the Red Sea in South Sinai and those resorts on the Egyptian mainland in Red Sea governorate (including Hurghada).

In the governorate of South Sinai the FCO advise against all but essential travel, with the exception of (i) the Red Sea Resorts including those in the entire region of Sharm el Sheikh, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab; (ii) the St Catherine’s Monastery World Heritage Site; (iii) road travel between the Red Sea resorts; (iv) road travel from the Red Sea resorts to St Catherine’s Monastery approaching from the east; and (v) transfers between the resorts and the airports of Taba and Sharm el Sheikh. See South Sinai and Road travel.

The FCO do not advise against the use of Cairo airport as a transit stop providing you do not leave the airport grounds. There have been access problems on some of the roads to Cairo airport, chiefly Saleh Salem Road.

If you are already in a part of Egypt where the FCO advise against all but essential travel, you should consider whether you have a pressing need to remain. If you decide to remain in Egypt, you should stay at or close to home or a place of safety (eg your hotel), keep a low profile and pay close attention to your personal safety, particularly in the larger cities. You should avoid crowds.

You should follow the regulations set by the local authorities and obey curfews. Make sure you keep valid photographic identification with you at all times.

Protests and demonstrations

A curfew has been in place since 14 August. As of 24 August the curfew has been set for between 9pm and 6am local time Saturday to Thursday and between 7pm and 6am on Friday. This is expected to continue for several weeks. The governorates affected by this are Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, South Sinai (except for Sharm el Sheikh, Taba and Dahab) North Sinai, Suez, Behera, Minya, Assiut, Souhag, Beni Suef, Ismailia, Qena and Fayoum. A national state of emergency has been declared for Egypt for a period of 1 month.

You are strongly advised to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings. If you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately. Do not attempt to cross road blocks erected by the security forces or protesters.

Red Sea resort areas

Enhanced security measures are in place to protect the resort areas. Egyptian military are situated in Sharm el Sheikh international airport, the entrance to the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and the exit to the resort area of Dahab. Routine security checks are being performed on entry into the airport and the police are carrying out vehicle checks in Sharm el-Sheikh. There have been no violent protests in the South Sinai resorts during recent disturbances in Egypt. The resorts remain calm.

Travel Insurance

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

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